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Staudenmayer and Sirard received $2.2 million NIH grant for more accurate assessments of physical and sedentary activity in young people

John Staudenmayer, Mathematics and Statistics, and kinesiologist John Sirard recently received a five-year, $2.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop methods for establishing more accurate assessments of physical activity and sedentary behavior in young people. Accurate and precise measures of these activities in youth are critical to researchers trying to provide evidence-based information related to health, Sirard explains. Read more

Pasquarella releases new satellite views of gypsy moth damage in New England

Valerie Pasquarella, a postdoctoral fellow with the Northeast Climate Science Center, recently released a series of new maps showing the magnitude and extent of damage from the current gypsy moth outbreak in southern New England. Read more

Clark discusses how to deal with head lice on NECN

John M. Clark, Veterinary and Animal Sciences, discusses how to deal with head lice in a NECN television news story. He says in recent years the insects have become increasingly resistant to over-the-counter treatments. NECN

Pollinator garden nurtures bees, butterflies, bats and birds on campus

Four Stockbridge School of Agriculture students, with campus landscape management staff, teamed up this past summer to create a new pollinator garden on campus, part of President Obama's national effort to offer bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and even bats a nearly year-round source of food, water and shelter. Many pollinator species, which are essential to agricultural sustainability, have suffered population declines and are at risk around the world. Read more, Watch video

Hatch and Gartner to identify Northeast river corridors

Christine Hatch and John Gartner, Geosciences, have received a two-year, $99,000 grant from the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative to help create a regionally consistent assessment of river corridors across the North Atlantic states. Read more

"Science for Everyone" video captures Chemistry Department's Homecoming event

The Integrated Science Building laboratories at UMass Amherst were open to the public during Homecoming. Hosted by the Chemistry department, "Science for Everyone" involved alumni and their children in hands-on experiments with everyday household items. Watch video

Jakob's research on eye movements of jumping spiders is highlighted on KQED

KQED, the Northern California PBS and NPR affiliate, features research by Elizabeth M. Jakob, Psychological and Brain Sciences and Associate Dean of the Graduate School, which looks at the eye movements of jumping spiders. She has developed an eye-movement tracker for studying the tiny spiders. KQED

Chaput, doctoral student in microbiology, awarded EPA Fellowship

Gina M. Chaput, a PhD candidate in Microbiology, was recently awarded the 2016 Environmental Protection Agency’s Science to Achieve Results Fellowship for her dissertation research to discover mechanisms of anaerobic bacterial lignin degradation that can be used to improve paper pulping processes and cleaner use of lignin as a biofuel feedstock. Read more

Irschick and Dasgupta to give Distinguished Faculty Lectures

Duncan Irschick, Biology, and Nilanjana Dasgupta, Psychological and Brain Sciences, are two of five faculty members honored by the campus to participate in the 2016-2017 Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series,. They will also receive the Chancellor's Medal at the conclusion of their talks. Irschick will present “Animal Attraction: Bioinspiration and Life in 3-D” on December 6, 2016. Dasgupta will present “STEMing the Tide: How Female Professors and Peers Can Encourage Young Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics” on March 6, 2017. The lectures begin at 4 p.m. in the Bernie Dallas Room, Goodell Building and are free and open to the public. A reception immediately follows each lecture.

Auerbach's zeolite research looks at converting grass to gas

Scott Auerbach studies minerals known as zeolites, with special interest in exploring whether zeolites may be used to convert plant biomass such as cellulose into gasoline. Auerbach is interested in converting biomass to biofuels for two reasons. First, because plant biomass is renewable via fuel crops, while petroleum requires much more time to make and second, the growth of fuel crops removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, providing a "carbon neutral" process for making and using liquid transportation fuels. Despite the promise of a biofuel-based energy economy, Auerbach says that "we still haven't perfected the process of making biofuels, which makes today's biofuels too expensive for broad market adoption. That's why we need more research into shape-selective catalysis in zeolites." Read more

Ma and Wick are organizers of the third biennial MassMyco conference

Organizers Li-Jun Ma, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and mycologist Rob Wick of the Stockbridge School of Agriculture have announced that the campus will host the third biennial conference known as MassMyco, a regional meeting on for fungal biologists in Massachusetts and surrounding states, to be held Sept. 24-25. Read more

Bradley's research will trace past climate, human migration in Faroe Islands

Raymond Bradley, Distinguished Professor in Geosciences and director of the Climate System Research Center, with others, recently received a two-year, $241,000 NSF grant to use new molecular techniques to reconstruct the past history of environmental changes in the Faroe Islands, a key location for people migrating across the North Atlantic over the past 1,000 years. Read more

Boutt's research puts New England's drought in perspective

The current severe drought in parts of New England is notable, says hydrologist David Boutt, Geosciences, but not extreme in historical terms and nowhere near the depth of dry conditions observed in the acute five-year drought experienced in 1962-67, when the water level in the Quabbin Reservoir was 20 feet lower than it is today. Read more, Boston Globe

DeConto's models show new evidence that Antarctica is more vulnerable to warming than previously thought

State-of-the-art climate and ice sheet models developed by Robert DeConto, Geosciences, and David Pollard at Penn State were used for a new study of past conditions on the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. The study suggests the region may again add to significant worldwide sea level rise with continued global warming, say geologist Reed Scherer and colleagues at Northern Illinois University. In the current issue of Nature Communications, Scherer, DeConto and colleagues report that they have discovered new evidence that helps to settle a decades-long disagreement among climate scientists about the stability of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet during the Pliocene, three million years ago, and what the presence of diatoms and algae fossils at high altitude today says about past climate conditions there. Read more, Washington Post

Manning presented invited paper in France

William J. Manning, professor emeritus, Stockbridge School of Agriculture, presented the invited paper, "Trees in the City: How Form and Function Affect Urban Air Quality," at the conference EcoSummit 2016 in Montpellier, France on Aug. 24. Read more

UMass Amherst advances to no. 27 among public universities in U.S. News Rankings

UMass Amherst continues its climb among the top ranks of the nation's best public universities, moving up another two positions this year to No. 27 in the 2017 Best Colleges guide released by U.S. News & World Report. Read more

Morita Awarded Grant to Study Vulnerability of TB Cell Wall

Yasu Morita, Microbiology, has been awarded a renewable $40,000 biomedical research grant from the American Lung Association for a project, "Cell wall biogenesis in Mycobacterium tuberculosis: towards identifying druggable cell envelope proteins." Read more

Rawlins and Bradley's study points to sharp decline in sub-freezing days across North America

A new climate modeling study by Michael Rawlins and Raymond Bradley, Geosciences, and colleagues, projects a decline in annual freezing days by mid-century across North America. They also estimate how much of the continent will no longer see a "frozen season," that is, where there will be no winter days when the daily average temperature falls below freezing. Read more

Blaustein, Dasgupta and Nahmod to receive the 2016 Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activity

Jeffrey D. Blaustein and Nilanjana Dasgupta, both Psychological and Brain Sciences, and Andrea R. Nahmod, Mathematics and Statistics are three of eight nationally acclaimed faculty members will be presented with the 2016 Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activity during the Twelfth Annual Faculty Convocation on September 30.

CNS students and alumni Pepi, Sweeney, and Zimmerer awarded Fulbright scholarships

Three of the record 16 Fulbright scholarships have been awarded to CNS students to conduct research in other countries for one year. Adam Pepi '14 BS, '15 MS, will travel far above the Arctic Circle to Tromsø, Norway, to research the population dynamics of two moth species in northern Scandinavia. Kyle Sweeney '16 BS will conduct research at the University of Mitrovica in Kosovo to examine how the country prepares for and manages droughts. Rebekah Zimmerer, master’s degree student in forest resources and arboriculture, will head to the Joensuu campus of the University of Eastern Finland, where she will compare forest landowners in Finland to those in the U.S. and examine the role of women in forest ownership and management throughout Finland. Read more

Griffin is member of Great Elephant Census research team, which reports massive loss of African savannah elephants

Results of the two-year, $8 million Great Elephant Census (GEC) of African savannah elephants led by Elephants Without Borders (EWB) have been released at an international wildlife conference in Hawaii, confirming massive declines in elephant numbers over just the last decade. The researchers report the current rate of species decline is 8 percent per year, primarily due to poaching. Investigators led by EWB director Mike Chase say the Pan-African survey shows that for savannah elephant populations in 15 GEC countries for which repeat counts were available, populations declined by 30 percent, or 144,000 animals, between 2007 and 2014. Curt Griffin, Environmental Conservation, with postdoctoral researcher Scott Schlossberg, are members of a research team that compiled the data, conducted statistical analyses and applied new data analysis techniques to help Chase and EWB estimate the abundance and geographic distribution of savannah elephants across Africa using the most accurate, up-to-date statistical methods to analyze the survey data. Results provide a baseline that governments and wildlife conservation organizations can use to coordinate conservation efforts. Billionaire philanthropist Paul G. Allen and his sister Jody Allen are the primary funders of the survey.

Lerman and Milam find untreated lawns yield unexpectedly rich bee species mix

Declining populations of pollinators is a major concern to ecologists because bees, butterflies and other insects play a critical role in supporting healthy ecosystems. A new study from urban ecologists Susannah Lerman and co-author Joan Milam, both adjunct faculty in Environmental Conservation, suggests that when urban and suburban lawns are left untreated with herbicides, they provide a diversity of "spontaneous" flowers such as dandelions and clover that offer nectar and pollen to bees and other pollinators. Read more

Student Farm awarded Commonwealth Quality Certification

The Student Farm has achieved Commonwealth Quality certification from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. Read more

Gerson comments about a new study that shows how zebra finches, when deprived of food and water, break down their body fat in order to stay hydrated.

Alexander R. Gerson, Biology, comments about a new study that shows how zebra finches, when deprived of food and water, break down their body fat in order to stay hydrated. Gerson's research suggests that birds break down protein to help them survive long flights over the Sahara Desert. The new study offers scientists an additional explanation of how animals adjust to harsh conditions. Science News

Brennan says in National Geographic that for large flightless birds, males are more likely to take care of chicks and help incubate eggs

Patricia Brennan, Biology, says among ratites, large flightless birds, many times it is males who take care of chicks and help incubate eggs. She says except for ostriches, only the male cares for offspring. Among ostriches, each male has a primary female who takes turns with him incubating eggs. She also says this type of primary male care for chicks is rare. National Geographic